UAP Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology (G.I.T.)
Geospatial Information Technology (GIT) includes collection and analysis of remotely sensed data, digital spatial and attribute data used by geographic information systems (GIS), and the application of related technologies such as the Global Positioning System (GPS).
Geographic Information Science is one of the leading careers in the United States today.
As depth of knowledge is important to careers in the industry, this certificate requires 12 hours of geospatial coursework. Coursework is taken from three categories, beginning with introductory topics, and continuing through more advanced and specialized topics as best fits the student’s background and future goals.
G.I.T. Admission Requirements
Virginia Tech students accepted in any graduate program category: PhD., MS, MA, Commonwealth Campus, or Non-Degree can be admitted into the GIT program by completing the Graduate Certificate Application, and completing a plan for taking courses required on the course checklist below.
Students should meet with an academic adviser familiar with the classes on the list below and submit the application form to Dr. Bill Carstensen for Certificate Program Approval signature no fewer than six months prior to completion of coursework.
Specific steps in the process are:
- Meet with or discuss the choice of acceptable courses with an adviser knowledgeable of the GIT coursework on campus (see suggested advisors list under Advisors tab to the left)
- Fill out and bring the certificate application form to Dr. Bill Carstensen for signature
- Submit the signed form to the Graduate School no fewer than six months prior to completion of course requirements
- Complete 12 hours from the course requirements list below
- Submit the completed course check sheet and an unofficial copy of the transcript along with the Application for Degree or Certificate Conferral form to Dr. Bill Carstensen, chair of the Oversight Committee, for a signature, and then take Application for Certificate Conferral Form to the Graduate School
G.I.T. Course Requirements
A. Introductory Courses: (0 – 6 credits to cover prerequisites for courses below)
Conceptual, technical, and operational aspects of geographic information systems as a tool for storage, analysis, and presentation of spatial information. Focus on engineering applications in resource management, site selection, and network analysis. Laboratory work required. Graduate standing required.
Examination of data structures used in geographic information systems. Map projections and coordinate systems used in mapping. Database creation, maintenance, and integrity. Applications of GIS methods for solving civil engineering problems in land management and related areas.
Course will introduce students to the theory and applications of database management systems (DBMS) and geographic information systems (GIS). Uses, challenges, and limitations of these technologies in natural resource management application will be discussed.
Philosophy and rationale of remote sensing as a part of the resource management process; comparisons of analogic and digital sensors; sensor selection and proper use; accuracy assessment; signature development; and identification of factors which affect the quality of remotely sensed information.
Foundations and applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS); geographic coordinate systems, Cartesian map projections, spatial data sources, efficient GIS data structures, map representations, and spatial applications of GIS. Pre: Graduate Standing.
Theory and methods of remote sensing. Practical exercises in interpretation of aerial photography, satellite, radar, and thermal infrared imagery. Digital analysis, image classification, and evaluation. Applications in earth sciences, hydrology, plant sciences, and land use studies. Field project and report. Review of current research literature. Graduate standing required.
Introduction to the concepts and methods of ecological resource survey and analysis at regional and site scales. Approaches to environmental problem solving with an emphasis on data collection, evaluation, and synthesis using applicable technologies such as geographic information systems. Interpretation of landscape resource data for the purpose of physical planning and design.
B. Advanced Courses: (6 -12 credit hours)
An examination of a wide range of computer-based techniques that are of value in analyzing urban and regional planning and management problems. Techniques include linear programming, goal programming; modeling of complex systems; and decision modeling. May be repeated with different content for a maximum of 12 credits.
This project based course deals with both vector and raster Geographic Information Systems (GIS), network analysis, tracking applications, hydrologic applications, spatial analysis, web databases, and linking GIS to models with programming, specifically in the civil and environmental engneering arena. Pre: Any introductory GIS course, including CEE 5204, GEOG 4084, or BSE 4344. Pre: Graduate standing.
Advanced GIS course focusing on raster analysis with particular application to the issues associated with hydrologic analysis. Application and evaluation of algorithms for terrain analysis, watershed characterization, and hydrologic analysis and modeling as implemented in GIS. Digital elevation data sources and error assessment. Approaches to GIS/model integration and application. Pre:Graduate standing.
This course treats a specific advanced topic of current research interest in the area of data and information. Papers from the current literature or research monographs are likely to be used instead of a textbook. Student participation in a seminar style format may be expected. Prerequisite(s): CS 5604 (UG) OR CS 5614 (UG) OR CS 5604 OR CS 5614.
Interdisciplinary seminar devoted to current research in the fields of remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems, and related topics. Seminars, workshops, and presentations conducted by students, faculty, and visitors. Pre: Graduate standing.
Theory of spectroscopy and spectrometry from portable spectroradiometers to airborne and spaceborne hyperspectral sensors as relevant to natural resource applications, including vegetation species indentification and vegetative health, soil and peat properties, mineral and geothermal characteristics, and water applications. Practical investigation of research tools and techniques used to analyze hyperspectral data. Pre-requisite: Graduate Standing Required.
Acquiring and using publicly available natural resources data sources. Methods and algorithms for terrain modeling and landscape metrics. Evaluation of the impacts of data errors and variability on analysis results, including sensitivity analysis of GIS-based resource assessments. Special issues related to temporal data and the management of natural resources information systems.
Theoretical underpinning of established and emerging research using light detection and ranging (lidar) technology for forestry applications including detailed terrain mapping and digital elevation models, canopy height modeling, prediction of forest biophysical parameters, forest physiology and the canopy light regime, watershed mapping and stream modeling, ecological modeling, landsca[pe classifications, and wildlife habitat. Advanced research tools and techniques used to analyze lidar data for different applications. Graduate standing required.
Methods of describing and analyzing spatial distributions, including spatial autocorrelation, quadrat analysis, trend surface analysis, and methods of map comparison. Applications to student research problems.
Use of automated systems for geographic data collection, diditization, storage, display, modeling and analysis. Basic data flow in GIS modeling applications. Development of proficiency in the use of current GIS software. Pre: Graduate Standing.
Principles, history, and methods of aerial photographic interpretation. Introduction to photographic systems and application to aerial photography. Human dimension to photo interpretation. Applications to varied fields of knowledge such as land-use mapping, earth sciences, forestry, agriculture, history and archaeology, and military and strategic studies.
Geographical analysis of water as a hazard upon human (infrastructure, economy) and natural (rivers, groundwater) systems in the form of hydrometeorological events, water- and vector-borne disease, climate change, dams, and eutrophication. Development of proficiency in demonstrating the multi-dimensionality of water resources. Pre: Graduate Standing.
Analysis of the spatio-temporal patters of land use and Land Cover Change (LULCC) as observed in satellite images. Tropical deforestation, urbanization, and agricultural intensification. Rates and patterns of LULCC linked to biophysical and socio-economic drivers. Impacts of land change with respect to local climate, biodiversity, water yield and quality, and ecosystem services.
This course focuses on the analysis of the spatio-temporal of the vegetated land surface as observed in satellite images. Phenological events, such as the first openings of leaf and flower buds, are good indicators of the impact of local and global climate change. The focus of this course will beon satellite image time series used in the derivation of land surface phenology, the appearance and development of phenology other global regions, and the methods developed for the monitoring of phenology with satellite imagery. A major theme will be causes of spatio-temporal changes of phenological events and the effect of global climate change. Pre-requisite: Graduate Standing required.
Computational methods of map analysis with the ArcGIS Geographic Information System. Scripting and Visual Basic.NET programming using Environmentatl Systems Research Institute’s ArcObjects library for customization of GIS software to meet research and analytical needs for both the desktop and the web. Pre: 5084G and computer programing experience.
Use of web mapping technologies for geographic data collection, storage, analysis, and display. Web mapping topics include history and context, spatial data infrastructures, hardware and software architectures, Open Geospatial Consortium standards, mapping API’s, virtual globes, user-centric design, web cartography. Pre: Graduate standing.
In-depth coverage of advanced topics in the field of remote sensing selected to cover emerging techniques and technologies. Examples of topics, which will differ each semester, include field data in support of remote sensing, accuracy assessment, and hyperspectral remote sensing. Critical assessment of the ways in which remotely sensed data and information are employed in varied scientific disciplines and by society.
Spatial data structures: geostatistical data, lattices and point patterns. Stationary and isotropic random fields. Autocorrelated data structures. Semivariogram estimation and spatial prediction for geostatistical data. Mapped and sampled point patterns. Regular, completely random and clustered point processes. Spatial regression and neighborhood analyses for data on lattices.
G.I.T. Potential Advisors and Departments
UAP Academic Programs
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12 hours from approved list of UAP courses
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Graduate Student Coordinator
Tom Sanchez (UAP Chair)
Yang Zhang (MURP Coordinator)
Ralph Hall (PUA/EPP Coordinator)
1021 Prince Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
140 Otey St
Blacksburg, VA 24061
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